Background: Since the introduction of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART), the life expectancy
and health quality for patients infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) have
significantly improved. Nevertheless, as a result of not only the deleterious effects of the virus itself
and prolonged ART, but also the effects of aging, cardiovascular diseases have emerged as one of
the most common causes of death among these patients.
Objective: The purpose of this review is to explore the new insights on the spectrum of Cardiovascular
Disease (CVD) in HIV infection, with emphasis on the factors that contribute to the atherosclerotic
process and its role in the development of acute coronary syndrome in the setting of infection.
Methods: A literature search using PubMed, ScienceDirect and Web of Science was performed.
Articles up to Mar, 2017, were selected for inclusion. The search was conducted using MeSH
terms, with the following key terms: [human immunodeficiency virus AND (cardiovascular disease
OR coronary heart disease) AND (antiretroviral therapy AND (cardiovascular disease OR coronary
Results: Clinical cardiovascular disease tends to appear approximately 10 years before in infected
individuals, when compared to the general population. The pathogenesis behind the cardiovascular,
HIV-associated complications is complex and multifactorial, involving traditional CVD risk factors,
as well as factors associated with the virus itself - immune activation and chronic inflammation
– and the metabolic disorders related to ART regimens.
Conclusion: Determining the cardiovascular risk among HIV-infected patients, as well as targeting
and treating conditions that predispose to CVD, are now emerging concerns among physicians.